New Tech garners attention

April 25, 2017
The Republic

Columbus Signature Academy — New Tech High School will welcome educators from around the world who are interested in seeing how project-based learning is used in the classroom.

Representatives from the Department of Defense Education Activity plan to visit CSA-New Tech today and Thursday as part of a study tour, principal Mike Reed said.

The DoDEA is a federally operated school system serving children of active-duty military and Department of Defense civilian members. It manages pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 educational programs for the Department of Defense, according to its website.

The DoDEA serves more than 73,100 students and operates 168 accredited schools in eight districts located in 11 countries, seven states, Guam and Puerto Rico, the website said.

The focus of the tour will be highlighting how CSA-New Tech, which serves as a magnet school for Columbus East and North high schools, uses project-based learning in its curriculum.

In project-based learning, students develop a project with a community partner and then define what they need to know to solve a particular problem, Reed said. Teachers shift to a facilitator role in helping students throughout the process, he said.

Reed said he initially was contacted by Mike Kimerson, assistant principal of Wiesbaden High School in Wiesbaden, Germany, who visited CSA New Tech in December.

Reed said participants of the two-day study tour will include high school principals from Germany, Korea and Japan, in addition to directors from its DoDEA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

“I want them to see a school that is built on trust, respect and responsibility,” Reed said.

The tour will include classroom observations, a panel discussion with students and an opportunity to talk with teachers, Reed said.

The second day will feature an administrator panel with Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Superintendent Jim Roberts, director of secondary education Bill Jensen and Mike Jamerson, director of technology for BCSC, he said.

Frank O’Gara, spokesman for DoDEA, said the visit will allow the agency to gather more research about project-based learning. Its research effort started in 2010 at the elementary level, but DoDEA is now looking to expand into the secondary level, O’Gara said.

He said 21st century facilities remove barriers to foster collaboration and project-based learning. DoDEA plans to open secondary education facilities using project-based learning as its focus.

“We think it makes sense,” O’Gara said.

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